Pet Care after Vaccines

Most pet owners are aware of the importance of vaccines for keeping their beloved creatures safe from the many infectious and contagious diseases that threaten their health and well-being. Vaccines work by triggering your pet’s body to produce antibodies designed to fight the infection that the vaccine is imitating. These antibodies are stored so that they can be released in the event that your pet comes into contact with the actual virus or disease that the vaccine was imitating.

Although there have been some concerns raised about the use of vaccines, the vast majority of veterinarians and animal scientists firmly agree that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the small risks associated with them. 

So, what can you do to look after your pet after he receives a vaccination?

Caring for a pet after a vaccination

In virtually all cases, your pet will be able to go home after he has had his vaccination appointment. Try and keep to your usual routine at home so that he doesn’t feel confused about what is happening, and the visit to the veterinarian doesn’t come across as a big deal. Nevertheless, if your furbaby has found the trip stressful, his behavior may reflect that. He may seem restless or anxious still, and he may follow you around or seek extra attention to help reassure him. Take the time to comfort your pet and ensure he feels as calm and happy as possible. 

Make sure your pet has access to water and food, although it is not uncommon for animals to lose some of their appetite in the days after receiving their vaccine. Unless your pet makes it obvious that he wants your attention, give him space to lie down and rest without interfering with him. 

One of your main responsibilities after the vaccine will be to monitor your pet for any signs of post-vaccine complications or side effects. 

Post-vaccine side effects

As with any sort of medical procedure or process, there is some degree of risk associated with giving a pet a vaccine. It is fairly common for pets to experience some mild side effects in the hours and days after receiving a vaccine, but these are rarely any real cause for concern. 

Mild side effects tend to include:

  • Swelling or slight discomfort at the site of the injection
  • Mild fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Slight lethargy

Most of these symptoms abate within a few days of your pet receiving the vaccine. If your pet has received an intranasal vaccine, symptoms similar to that of a human cold - a mild cough, sneezing and blocked nose - can occur 2-5 days later.

When to contact our veterinarian

Although rare, it is possible for a pet to experience an allergic reaction to a vaccine. These reactions can happen minutes or hours after receiving the vaccination but can be extremely serious and require immediate medical attention from a trained veterinarian. 

If your pet shows any of the following symptoms, get him seen straight away:

  • Swelling around the muzzle, face, eyes or neck

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

  • Extreme itching and skin that seems bumpy, raised or red

  • Severe coughing or struggling to breathe

  • Unconsciousness 

If you have any further questions or concerns about the care you should be providing your pet after he has received a vaccine, contact our Nashville, TN office today and our veterinary team at Nippers Corner Pet Medical Center will be happy to advise you.